Category Archives: The Arts

Band of stage fighters at Pellissippi State takes on Renaissance Festival

2 people fight with swords in Renaissance attire
In the photo, Steve Trigg, left, engages in a mock sword fight with Thomas Crout. Crout plays character Captain Pickle and Trigg plays Beryl Plectrum Codpiece Knackberry Folderol.

Stage-fighting students at Pellissippi State Community College took their unique combat skills to the next level when they performed recently for the East Tennessee Renaissance Festival.

“Our stage-fighting course is unique in Tennessee,” said Charles R. Miller, the college’s Theatre program coordinator and a professor of Liberal Arts. “We have one of the top two-year Theatre programs in the country.”

Students in the stage-fighting course learn the skills to perform mock combat for theatrical purposes. Participants are a mix of full-time students and people from the community enrolled only in the class.

The fighters from Pellissippi State—Greg Congleton, Jordan Cook, Carolyn Corey, Thomas Crout, Julianna Meyers, Steve Trigg and Debi Wetherington—worked as “street characters” at October’s Renaissance Festival in Harriman. Several also performed on stage twice a day in “In a Pickle,” a comedy stunt show, and all honed their skills in “Human Combat Chess,” featuring theatrical sword fighting.

“We were aiming for the highest level of quality and safety available,” said Barrie Paulson, vice president/manager and entertainment director of the East Tennessee Renaissance Festival. “These students from Pellissippi State were cast in lead roles. The word after the performances was that even though the student actors were new, they more than held their own beside other professional stage acts.”

Earlier this year, 10 students at Pellissippi State passed the skills proficiency test of the Society of American Fight Directors. It was the first time the test had been administered in the state in almost 20 years.

In the video, Debi Wetherington and Jordan Cook take part in the Human Combat Chess Match. Jordan plays William Black and Debi plays Mary Tailor, two characters who are engaged to be married, but pitted against each other in the chess match. The video shows their unwillingness to hurt each other even as they are forced to appear to battle.

The college’s stage-fighting course is taught by Bob Borwick, the only SAFD certified instructor in Tennessee. Borwick teaches exclusively at Pellissippi State. Paulson served as a volunteer fight assistant in the course. She, too, passed the SAFD exam earlier this year.

Miller, who taught the stage combat class for years, says he gladly stepped aside for Borwick’s expertise: “Bob has so much great experience, and the quality of our Theatre program comes first.”

“It turned out to be a great opportunity for me to keep current with my stage-fight skills and to scout quality actor-combatants for the Renaissance Festival,” Paulson said.

Paulson and the Pellissippi State students tested with Dale Girard, an SAFD fight master and director of stage combat studies at North Carolina School of the Arts. By passing the exam, the students earned a much sought-after skill status in the world of professional theatre.

The course to prepare for the SAFD skills proficiency test is THEA 2222 Special Topics (Stage Combat), and it will be available again in spring 2015. Business and Community Services also is offering a non-credit Stage Combat course.

“I would love to see Pellissippi State’s Theatre program become the place for stage combat training in East Tennessee, and the place talent scouts target for expertise,” Paulson said.

For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.

Pellissippi State: Arrive early for complimentary tickets to popular Holiday Spectacular

Female ballerina with other ballerinas in the back and lit christmas trees

Join in the holiday cheer at Pellissippi State Community College’s hugely popular annual Holiday Spectacular concert, offered in two performances, 6 and 8 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 4.

Part of Pellissippi State’s Music Concert Series, the Holiday Spectacular is free, and the community is encouraged to attend. Because space is limited, the college asks that guests arrive 30 minutes before each performance to receive a complimentary ticket. Tickets will be issued at the door to the first 485 guests, and having a ticket guarantees a seat.

The Holiday Spectacular, whose theme this year is “A Candlelight Christmas Evening,” takes place in the Clayton Performing Arts Center on the Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. The concert features the talents of more than 150 Pellissippi State students and faculty in eight different musical ensembles, performing classical choral numbers, bluegrass, and jazz.

“The concert will feature exciting production numbers full of bright visual displays, as well as more quiet, intimate carols by candlelight to celebrate the warmth of the season,” said Bill Brewer, Music program coordinator.

“Every audience member will leave the show with a taste of holiday cheer.”

The Music Concert Series is part of The Arts at Pellissippi State, which brings to the community cultural activities ranging from music and theatre to international celebrations, lectures, and the fine arts.

While all events in the series are free, donations are accepted at the door for the Pellissippi State Foundation on behalf of the Music Scholarship fund.

For additional information about the Music Concert Series or The Arts at Pellissippi State, call (865) 694-6400 or visit www.pstcc.edu/arts. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action at (865) 694-6607 or humanresources@pstcc.edu.

Pellissippi State presents world theatre premiere of ‘Server Alley’

graphic of waitress holding food with server alley label above

Pellissippi State Community College hosts the world debut of “Server Alley,” a comedy/drama by playwright Alex Gherardi, in November.

Performance times are 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 14, 15, 21, and 22 and 2 p.m. on Nov. 16 and 23. The event takes place in the Clayton Performing Arts Center on the Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

The play has a unique setup, in that audience members are seated on the stage near the actors. Seating is limited. Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for seniors and students. Tickets are available at www.pstcc.edu/tickets.

The never-before-seen play examines the lives of an oft-seen but barely noticed group: the people who serve our food.

“The story focuses on young people at a time of their lives when they are deciding what they want and who they want to be,” said Charles R. Miller, Theatre program coordinator and a professor of Liberal Arts. “The characters in this play ask themselves if their lives are really what they wish them to be, or if they want to take the chance on something that might be better.”

Alex Gherardi is executive director of CNY Shakespeare in Central New York and is an adjunct faculty member at Pellissippi State. A graduate of Rutgers University, he is now living in Knoxville.

“We are so honored to show the world premiere of a play he wrote while in Knoxville,” said Miller. “Alex is hugely talented not only as a playwright but as a composer and an actor himself.”

“Server Alley” is one of the events that make up Pellissippi State’s arts series, The Arts at Pellissippi State. The series brings to the community cultural activities ranging from music and theatre to international celebrations, lectures, and the fine arts. This year, the series commemorates Pellissippi State’s 40th anniversary.

For more information about The Arts at Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu/arts or call (865) 694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources at (865) 694-6607 or humanresources@pstcc.edu.

‘Who Are You (Really)?’ topic of Pellissippi State faculty lecture

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The community is invited to join in a philosophical discussion Nov. 12 at Pellissippi State Community College focusing on the essence of “you.” The presentation is part of the 2014-2015 Faculty Lecture Series.

Frank Mashburn, an assistant professor of philosophy at Pellissippi State, presents “Who Are You (Really)? Some Insights From Philosophy and Film” at 2 p.m. The free event is in the Goins Building Auditorium on the Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

cartoon of male holding a frame that says bonafide philosopher“The theme is, what is it that makes you ‘you’?” Mashburn said. “Some people think what makes you ‘you’ is the matter you are made of—and if that matter changes too much, you will cease to be ‘you.’ Some people think that what makes you ‘you’ has to do with your organic brain or your collection of memories. For others, your soul is what essentially makes you ‘you.’

“I will discuss these positions and show some powerful clips from films that showcase these important philosophical positions.”

The topic might seem mundane, but, he says, determining who you are, and what makes you who you are, is one of the most important questions anyone can consider.

“After all, you are ‘you’ every single day. When we attempt to answer that question, we can find ourselves wonder-struck: this life that might have seemed so boring could actually be complex and wondrous.”

“Who Are You (Really)?” is one of the events that make up Pellissippi State’s arts series, The Arts at Pellissippi State. The series brings to the community cultural activities ranging from music and theatre to international celebrations, lectures, and the fine arts. This year, the series commemorates the college’s 40th anniversary.

For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources at (865) 694-6607 or humanresources@pstcc.edu.

Pellissippi State: Community invited to annual Instrumental Concert

Graphic with female singing into a microphone and the word Music below.

Four ensembles and an orchestra are featured at Pellissippi State Community College’s annual Instrumental Concert on Thursday, Nov. 6.

The concert begins at 7 p.m. in the Clayton Performing Arts Center on the Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. The event is free and the community is invited.

“This concert will feature more than 40 students in five of our student instrumental groups: the Brass Ensemble, Guitar Ensemble, Studio Orchestra, Bluegrass Ensemble and Percussion Ensemble. Each group will play a 15-minute set of music covering all kinds of styles and genres,” said Bill Brewer, Music program coordinator.

The music event is one of the performances in Pellissippi State’s yearlong Music Concert Series. The series is part of The Arts at Pellissippi State, which brings to the community cultural activities ranging from music and theatre to international celebrations, lectures, and the fine arts.

All piano performances and accompaniments are performed on Steinways, in keeping with Pellissippi State’s status as an All-Steinway School.

For additional information about the Music Concert Series or The Arts at Pellissippi State, call (865) 694-6400 or visit www.pstcc.edu/arts. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action at (865) 694-6607 or humanresources@pstcc.edu.

Pellissippi State celebrates American Indian Heritage Month

Male leaning against a doorway with violin and dressed in Native American attire.Pellissippi State Community College recognizes American Indian Heritage Month with a celebration that takes place 11 a.m.-2 p.m., Monday, Nov. 3.

The event, which is free and open to the community, is in the Goins Building College Center on the Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

“At Pellissippi State, we celebrate the diversity of our students, faculty and staff year-round,” said Gayle Wood, director of Access and Diversity, which sponsors the event. “At the Nov. 3 program, we will honor the struggles and celebrate the accomplishments of Native Americans.”
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The event includes a performance by musician Arvel Bird. Bird, who describes himself and his music as “Celtic Indian,” plays violin, fiddle, Native American flutes, and Irish whistles. His original compositions are a fusion of his Scottish and Southern Paiute heritage. Bird has performed with Glen Campbell, Loretta Lynn, Ray Price and Louise Mandrell, among others.

Attendees at Pellissippi State’s event also can taste traditional Native American foods.

“National American Indian Heritage Month” was established in 1990 by President George H. W. Bush, and the special recognition is now celebrated each November.

American Indian Heritage Month is one of the many events that make up Pellissippi State’s arts series, The Arts at Pellissippi State. The series brings to the community cultural activities ranging from music and theatre to international celebrations, lectures, and the fine arts. This year, the arts series commemorates Pellissippi State’s 40th anniversary.

For more information about The Arts at Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu/arts or call (865) 694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources at (865) 694-6607 or humanresources@pstcc.edu.

Community invited to Oct. 21 Fall Choral Concert at Pellissippi State

Graphic with female singing into a microphone and the word Music below.

Special performances by student groups and soloists highlight Pellissippi State Community College’s Fall Choral Concert.

The annual concert is Tuesday, Oct. 21, at 7 p.m. in the Clayton Performing Arts Center on the Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. The concert features musical performances by student groups Concert Chorale and Variations Ensemble, as well as by selected student soloists.
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The event is free and the community is invited.

“The students in the choirs have been working very diligently to prepare for our first choral concert of the year,” said Bill Brewer, Music program coordinator. “They have been rehearsing a wide variety of pieces and styles, including traditional choral literature, folk song settings, and African-American spirituals. There should be something to please every musical palate.”

The Fall Choral Concert is one of the performances in Pellissippi State’s year-long Music Concert Series. The series is part of The Arts at Pellissippi State, which brings to the community cultural activities ranging from music and theatre to international celebrations, lectures, and the fine arts. All piano performances and accompaniments will be performed on Steinways, in keeping with the college’s status as an All-Steinway School.
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For additional information about the Pellissippi State Music Concert Series or The Arts at Pellissippi State, call (865) 694-6400 or visit www.pstcc.edu/arts. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action at (865) 694-6607 or humanresources@pstcc.edu.

Pellissippi State: ‘Many Faces of Socrates’ topic of faculty lecture

portrait of male in suitEthics, logic, physics, politics, science. Western civilization owes a great debt to the classical Greek philosophers, and one Pellissippi State Community College faculty member pays his respects to one of those early sages in a lecture Thursday, Oct. 23.

Trent Eades, an assistant professor of English, presents “The Many Faces of Socrates” beginning at 12:30 p.m. in the Goins Building Auditorium on the Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. The lecture is free and the community is invited.
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“Socrates was one of the most influential people in history—not as a man who lays down laws, but as one who reasons,” Eades said. “He was credited with turning philosophy away from explanations of the world to exploration of the self—to ethics, morality, justice and the proper way for a person to live.”

Eades’ presentation, which includes cameo appearances by other Pellissippi State faculty members, focuses on Socrates as a multifaceted character. Born circa 470 BCE, the Athenian philosopher was the mentor to both Plato and Xenophon. His namesake “Socratic method”—based on asking and answering questions to provoke critical thinking—laid the foundation for Western systems of logic and philosophy.
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“The Many Faces of Socrates” is one of the events that make up Pellissippi State’s arts series, The Arts at Pellissippi State. The series brings to the community cultural activities ranging from music and theatre to international celebrations, lectures, and the fine arts. This year, the arts series celebrates Pellissippi State’s 40th anniversary.
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For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources at (865) 694-6607 or humanresources@pstcc.edu.

Pellissippi State art exhibit showcases images from Afghanistan

male with people behind him along a wall
Amar Jan, 18, an orphan. He lost all his family during the fights in Herat, about ten years ago.

Images of Afghanistan are the subject of an upcoming art exhibit at Pellissippi State Community College. The exhibit is sponsored by the Tennessee Consortium for International Studies.
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“Afghanistan: Unordinary Lives” runs Oct. 28-Nov. 12 at the Bagwell Center for Media and Art, located on the Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. Gallery hours are Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Admission is free, and the gallery is always open to the public.

“Bringing cultural awareness and understanding to students and faculty is an important component of the mission of TnCIS,” said Tracey Bradley, TnCIS executive director. “TnCIS is honored to be a part of this extraordinary exhibit portraying the lives of civilians in Afghanistan.”

The exhibit features the work of Slovenian artist Manca Juvan, who spent months in Afghanistan doing field research into the civil society of the country.

“Stories on the lives of ordinary Afghans caught in this endless conflict of interest and the ongoing struggle for money, power, and overall control remind us what the real images of war and poverty—of lives far from ordinary—look like,” Juvan said.
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“Afghanistan: Unordinary Lives” is one of the events that make up Pellissippi State’s arts series, The Arts at Pellissippi State. The series brings to the community cultural activities ranging from music and theatre to international celebrations, lectures, and the fine arts. This year, the arts series commemorates Pellissippi State’s 40th anniversary.

TnCIS, which has its headquarters at Pellissippi State, organizes study abroad opportunities as part of its mission of boosting international experience and culture in higher education across the state. More than 425 students and 65 faculty from across Tennessee participated in the summer 2014 study abroad programs organized by TnCIS. For more information about TnCIS, visit www.tncis.org or call (865) 539-7280.

For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources at (865) 694-6607 or humanresources@pstcc.edu.

Pellissippi State faculty star in art exhibit

artworkThe works of many of Pellissippi State Community College’s Art faculty are featured in an exhibit that kicks off Oct. 6.

The special Faculty Art Exhibit runs through Oct. 24. The display is in the gallery of the Bagwell Center for Media and Art on the Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. Gallery hours are Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m.
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“This exhibit showcases the current work of our four full-time faculty members as well as several of our adjunct faculty members, so it’s a department-wide show,” said Jeff Lockett, professor and Art program coordinator. “We’ll have two-dimensional and three-dimensional art featuring both abstract and representational work.

“The Bagwell Gallery is wonderful for showcasing the work of local and regional artists, as well as the work of our talented students and our faculty.”

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The Faculty Art Exhibit is one of the events that make up Pellissippi State’s arts series, The Arts at Pellissippi State. The series brings to the community cultural activities ranging from music and theatre to international celebrations, lectures, and the fine arts. This year, the arts series celebrates Pellissippi State’s 40th anniversary.
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For more information, visit www.pstcc.edu/arts or call (865) 694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources at (865) 694-6607 or humanresources@pstcc.edu.